Metal Gear Survive’s scuzzy microtransactions: paid saveslots, cash for emotes and buy-a-boost


I’m having a significantly better time than I’d expected with Solid crew spin-off Metal Gear Survive, but something about it does rub me up the wrong way – and I’m not talking about whether or not it stuck a dagger in Kojima’s kidney or how heavily it borrows from other survival games. Like Metal Gear Solid V before, microtransactions have crept into Survive, and though they’re not at all necessary to either singleplayer or co-op in the open-world base-building survival sandbox, they do push against the limits of fairness. $10 to buy a second character slot, for instance, or $2 for a one-day temporary boost to the points required to level your guy up. And this is in a game that costs $40/£35 upfront.

This is all thoroughly (and depressingly) modern in-app purchase fare, of course, but maybe it’s causing more public ructions than usual here because it only adds to the sense that a Metal Gear ship bereft of its traditional captain is one doomed to turn wildly off-course. Me, I like the game well enough, but my central concern is how crudely this stuff has been implemented. There isn’t a central store to which you go to pick and choose paid goodies from, but rather SV Coins, as the paid currency, just crop up all over the interface in inconsistent and sometimes unexpected ways.


Clearly there’s something deliberate there, in terms of the game showing you what you could have while you’re looking glumly at what you do have. However, it also reflects the fact that MG Survive’s crafting, inventory and building menus are even more of a disaster zone than the displaced wreckage of MGSV’s Mother Base, which acts as central backdrop to Survive’s zomb-o-stealth shenanigans.

It divides craftable items between ‘gear’ and ‘gadget’ terminals with arbitrary abandon, for instance, while you need to go to a separate terminal still if you want to browse what resources you have in storage at your base, while the activation key for usables wildly jumps between R, T, Enter, Space and G.
I’ve spent far more time rummaging miserably through menus than I have sneaking up on zombies, and this extends even to trying to find all the microtransaction options for this piece. They’re all over the place. Oh, and yeah, they are Not Good.

The headline facepalm is MG Survive’s stinky decision to make extra save slots a paid purchase. Now, most likely you’ll put dozens of hours into one character and this won’t be an issue for most of us, but for those with an abundance of free time and/or a determination to experience everything, a different character with different skill choices and appearance (though everything except character gender can be modified in game) is the only option. Trouble is, the slot costs 1000 SV coins.


Further trouble is – and this sort of tactic really makes me want to kick executives into the sun – that you can’t simply buy 1000 SV coins as a package. You can buy 1150 SV coins for $9.99/£7.99, or you can buy two lots of 550 SV Coins for $4.99/£3.99, in either case ending up with an effectively useless lump of 100-150 Coins. The only thing you can afford with that change is one of the lower-tier character emotes, but these are meaningless if you’re playing solo. So, you’ll need to buy even more coins if you want to spend the leftovers on anything else. Alternatively, you can buy 100 SV Coins for $0.99/£0.79 ten times, but that way you end up with 150 less coins than you would for the $9.99/1150 SV pack. Wicked – and all-too-common in microtransaction land.

MG Survive will also sell you extra storage slots for crafted weapons, in this case for 550 SV coins a pop (so, again, that 550 SV coins for $5 bundle is a dick move). I haven’t needed this in my few hours with the game so far, but I can well imagine that, later on, when I’ve built and upgraded a bunch of weapons I’ve grown fond of, I’m not going to want to dismantle one to make room for a new one.

The other major point of gouging is Boosts. MG Survive doesn’t quite let you pay to directly improve your character’s abilities, but for the low, low price of 200 SV coins for a day or 2400 SV coins for 60 days (and of course the next bundle up from 1150 SV Coins is 3500 for $30/£24), you can buy a potion that increases how much Kuban Energy, the in-game crafting and levelling-up resource, you collect from slain enemies and crystal deposits. I.e. pay out, and you’ll level up much faster. Boosts also augment the production of certain buildings, thus reducing the amount of schlepp needed to replenish food and water, as well as the effectiveness of your NPC squads when you send them out on missions.


It is all more than a little icky, isn’t it? In my experience so far none of these purchases have been remotely necessary, and nor have they for our reviewer Matt, but clearly they are there as a temptation for the time-starved, the power-hungry and the completionist. A low blow to a game that has otherwise turned out a fair bit better than we might have reasonably expected.

I should note, by the way, that MG Survive does give every players 30 SV Coins a day, presuming they log into it that day. So, after four days you could afford an emote, after one week you could afford a single-day booster pack and after a minuscule 34 days of logging in every day, you’ll get your dang extra save slot. 2018, everybody.


  1. eatsomeshit says:

    Fucking stupid fanboys attack incoming in 3..2..1…

    Also, this fucking game has positive reviews on Steam. I can’t believe it.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      I don’t know how; it’s almost Digital Homicide levels of fucking garbage. Also I resent your comment about ‘fucking fanboys’; I think anyone with any respect for Kojima’s work would be dry heaving at the mere sight of this piece of shit.

    • Crusoe says:

      It’s worth noting that at the end of the weekend long free beta, the beta had 40% approval ratings. The positive ratings on the paid version likely means, apart from the few that have somehow enjoyed this mess, that people don’t like criticizing products they’ve paid a large sum for. At least not so soon.

      Myself, I played the beta for 4 hours, and am somewhat shocked that Alec is enjoying it at all. Apart from the obvious problems he mentions, I found that the Zom AI is atrocious, the animations of player controlled characters are poor and don’t link together properly, you run completely out of stamina after running for around 10 seconds, and the dodge button is an unlock.

      Those are basic critical flaws I noticed immediately.

      And a thousand people could rant for a thousand years about how godawful the UI is and it still wouldn’t be enough. In my 30 years of videogames it is far and away the worst I’d ever known.

      • KastaRules says:

        “…the beta had 40% approval ratings. The positive ratings on the paid version likely means […] that people don’t like criticizing products they’ve paid a large sum for.”

        Crusoe, that’s definitely a very valid point there.

    • Babymech says:

      1) This game doesn’t have fanboys. 2) You mean fanboys would be any more reactionary and knee jerk than you, who can’t believe a single positive review of this game would exist?

      I think the reasonable consensus on this game is perfectly clear, and I think Eurogamer summed it up well: “It’s an okay video game! But it also contains one of the more bizarre – and perhaps obnoxious – examples of microtransactions I’ve seen in a full price video game to date.

      Any review that doesn’t mention the bizarre mini-buys would be a failure. Any review that ignores the game’s passable parts because of outrage over the mini-buys is also a failure.

  2. aircool says:

    I’d rather publishers just charged £50-£60 and gave us the whole game.

    …and for the life of me, I still have no idea WTF a season pass is in a game; likely just the added price of buying the full game as opposed to the £30 demo…

    • elvirais says:

      I had the same frustration. It seems to mean: buy access to any hopefully upcoming expansion packs. Though I’ve seen some publishers then exclude certain DLC from those passes… I really don’t like where were at right now in game publishing.

    • ludde says:

      Publishers prefer bottomless pits, not fixed prices. Consumer concerns are secondary unless they become disruptive.

  3. yoggesothothe says:

    Collectively that does sound rather scuzzy, in the vein of other MMOs (Black Desert Online, Blade and Soul, Vindictus, Tera, Devilian, err the list goes on) that employ their UI as weapons to emotionally compromise their users. Thanks for more specific details on that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Guild Wars 2 usually gets a soft pass from the fan boys in this respect, but is just as bad, if not worse.

      The argument is that you can trade in-game gold for shop currency, so that makes it alright.

      But over time, the amount of gold necessary to buy shop currency has steadily increased, meaning that the time needed to grind out the gold becomes less attractive and the prospect of spending real cash on store currency instead becomes more attractive. This is by design. FFS, they proudly announced they’d hired an economist specifically to implement this bullshit.

      And as noted in the article above, you can never buy just the currency you need. You’ll always, always be left with a useless quantity encouraging you to top that amount up with yet another store purchase of currency.

      EA may have recently stolen the limelight with their scummy practises, but they learned at the feet of MMO industry.

      • RavenGlenn says:

        As someone who is by no means a fanboy of GW2(I’m neither a boy, nor really a fan these days), I feel I need to correct this a little in the interest of fairness.

        GW2 does have a cash shop. You’re right. And it’s an MMO that doesn’t have a monthly fee so they need to make money somewhere. With that said, out of any free to play MMORPG out there I can think of, GW2 has by FAR the least restrictive access to the game of any game I’ve seen. I’ve never had to spend an additional dime on the game outside of my original purchase of the base game at release and the expansions at their releases.

        The game throws tons of free upgrades at you and while the cost of buying the cash-shop currency has increased due to inflation, so has the worth of anything you are trying to sell on the market. In other words, the cost hasn’t really changed outside of it’s usual cycle of ups and downs as the economy moves.

        The game supplies you with everything you need to play the game and enjoy and the cash-shop options are merely conveniences and cosmetics. You can do completely without any of it.

        So that is why it gets a ‘soft pass’. The game is free to play(outside buying expansions) and has no monthly fee. They have to charge somewhere and are extremely ethical about it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Mungrul says:

          It may be free to play now, but it didn’t start out that way, and when I stopped playing (because of the egregious monetisation), it was still pay-to-play.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            No, at release you purchased the game but after that it was free. There was and is not subscription model. It was the same for the original.

            While that’s not strictly free to play, it’s subscription free, after the initial purchase.

            I’ve never spent a single penny on the game aside from buying it a few days before release.

  4. Vilos Cohaagen says:

    Good to know! I wasn’t planning on playing this, but now I’m definitely not. I don’t pay extra for save slots. What a load of cobblers.

  5. biggergun says:

    I am already a demon.

  6. ashleys_ears says:

    Konami channeling that EA-tier corporate villainy.

  7. Captain Narol says:

    This disease is starting to infect all AAA games now, what a crap…

    For my part, I’ve almost totally stopped playing AAA games, and just play cheap indie games and Free-To-Play that ain’t Pay-To-Win.

  8. Servicemaster says:

    Let’s be real: Konami is now a gambling company and nothing else. They saw the way the market was heading and dropped off the gaming part and embraced the gambling part.

    Capitalism destroys art more often than terrorists.

  9. Jalan says:

    Something as fundamental as a save slot getting the MTX railroad treatment… part of me wants to believe this is Konami’s way of trying to subtly poke fun at the overabundance of this stuff but the rest of me keeps reminding that other part that it’s Konami and they haven’t done anything subtle in decades.

  10. Detrian says:

    It’s funny cause MGS V had an identical microtransaction system. I’m also not sure you get 30 SV coins a day outside the launch event so in both pointing out the good and bad, this article is garbage.

    • dog2 says:

      Lol. Yeah, this article is terrible for reasons I’m not sure of. MGSV totally had a system where you bought saves and boosts for your main char. The exact same. Total putz.

    • DefinitelyNotHans says:

      Except you’re talking about the optional online side of MGS5, which was primarily a single player game with a massive amount of content. If you never touched the multiplayer aspect, you never saw any of this stuff. You had a huge 100+ hour game for your money where the online component was just a bonus.

      Survive on the other hand, this is the entire game.

      • Detrian says:

        But that’s not true. You could buy extra FOBs in MGS V as well as buy insurance for your main one. Also, MGS V didn’t have multiple campaign save files either.

        • dahools says:

          I agree with you. You could use the coins in MGSV to do the staff missions faster unlock more guys and FOBs, thus increasing your ability such as mission intel and unlocking more weapons faster in the single player making the campaign much easier.
          If people chose to do this or not that was their choice but was encouraged once they pretty much wipe out your crew with disease half way through.

      • GHawkins says:

        At the moment I am 14 hours into Survive and I have not once had to touch any of the microtransactions. As far as I have been able to determine so far, not a single piece of gameplay has been locked behind a paywall.

        The only two pieces of microtransaction I have been confronted with are the character thing, but even then you have to go out of your way to find it (the menu is not obvious in that, unless you press Q/E to get to the page) and the extra scavenging teams (you get one to begin with, so the others are convenience).

        All transactions that I managed to find (I looked) are things which enable you to progress faster or easier and are thus entirely optional.

  11. Xelias says:

    I tried the beta and i was put off by the stupid menus that hide information, 40% of the screen is filled with UI and they still manage to make some stuff obscure it’s pretty incredible.

    It’s also sad because the fox engine is super powerful, seeing it used like that is a goddamn shame. As much as I was ffrustrated by the way konami handled MGSV, I was willing to give this game a go. Between the UI and the Korean Freemium bullshit, i think that this seals the deal for me.

    Also, I’m seriously baffled to see people justifying paying for a save slot because “Oh, but you don’t *need* it.” We don’t *need* optional costumes in game nor do we *need* a slot to save custom loadouts, or pretty much anything beside the bare bone gameplay. Doesn’t mean that everything should be stripped out and sold a piece.

    i remember when you had to *earn* Snake’s Tuxedo god damnit.

  12. boidsonly says:

    Thanks for pointing out the scuzzery; they won’t see a penny of mine…

  13. jp says:

    Is the game forced multiplayer / always online?
    No way to cheat edit those unlocks for singleplayer?
    Is there a proper singleplayer even?

    In MGSV I could circumvent a lot of the microtransaction limitations by simply cheating like a motherf**ker and cheating max rank staff and hundreds of thousands of resources when I reached the point that obviously expected you to have extra bases.

    • Daymare says:

      At this point in the industry’s development, how is the answer not obviously “yes, it’s forced MP, no you can’t cheat because it’s only MP, no there’s no offline SP mode”

  14. Daymare says:

    The fact that RPS has even partly defended this shitshow in the last article is a fucking travesty to me. This happens again and again, article talking about how it’s actually a pretty good game even though some aspects of it are shit, then an article that criticises those aspects. People buy those greed-fuelled games because of articles like the former.

    I know, I’ll get comments like “RPS is not an ACTUAL hive-mind, different people have different tastes” etc. etc. But no, that’s not enough, I feel.

    Maybe I’m just jaded. I played Subnautica. You know what? You can buy the game, and play it, all of what’s there.

    I played Dark Souls 3. There’s 2 DLCs which are basically expansion sets à Diablo 2’s Lord of Destruction, and you also get an online component, if you like. You can also play that game offline.
    What you can’t do, is buy “Lothric’s Armor of the Dark Soul” skins for your armor sets for 30€ a piece. Why not? Surely the continuing costs of maintaining the online component of the game and balance updates absolutely justify that! And it’s just skins, after all!

    That’s it, I’m never gonna complain about that again, but this stuff’s been bugging me for months now.

    • Titler says:

      I was thinking of Dark Souls 3 when reading this article too; Why? Because it just unlocked in the Humble Monthly Bundle. No microtransactions, some DLC, but sold 2 years after launch for a tiny amount of money, and the money goes to charity.

      Imagine that, generosity, good causes, no feelings of being screwed over personally or that the industry actively resents you.


    • Meat Circus says:

      Worth pointing out that Eurogamer, owned by the same bunch of PR-appeasing hacks as RPS, are chowing down on that same corporate cock in the same demeaning way.

      I guess the order has come from the suits on high to go easy on this game.


      • Daymare says:

        See, I’m having a hard time believing that RPS are bought, because on the other hand they can be and are quite critical of the subject, as we’re seeing in this article, and I remember someone explicitly saying that RPS’d never let themselves be “sold out”.

        Then this article starts with “I’m having a significantly better time than I’d expected”.
        Not a glowing recommendation, but it’s … still pretty positive, don’t you think?

        It also ends with “MG Survive does give every players 30 SV Coins a day, presuming they log into it that day.”
        That’s a nice little almost-advertisement right there. Like, it’s still presented in a critical way, there’s a sarcastic remark, and obv. the main body of the article as all but positive, but still … why? Why defend stuff like that at all?

        So maybe RPS just mind this stuff less than us, the vocal minority? I’m sure most people don’t care about it, just as most people don’t think much about anything at all.

        As for me, I wish the team as a whole would collectively take a more critical stand against this sort of practice, because it’s absolutely ruining my favorite hobby. Like, there’ve been four articles on this game during the last two weeks! Why give it this much of an outlet in the first place? Since we all know the only bad publicity is no publicity at all.

        • Thankmar says:

          My take is like this: theres a game, its likable for different reasons, and decent humans tend to see no evil just for harmony reasons. You don’t want to write that one of the most distinguished gaming series went down the drain just like that. You cling to the still-good stuff.

          But if you take a step back, these sales-mechanisms are just not healthy for players, and they are only sale mechanisms. Theres no “win” for us, like you could argue for actual f2p-titles, in that you can play a maybe even good game for free if you don’t have the urge to represent with paid skins. In this regard, they are like pre-orders: no gain for players, only for publishers.
          And this I do not understand: RPS clearly is against pre-ordering. Why this hemming and hawing about this microtransaction bs, like in Shadow of War and Battlefront 2? The industry is clearly pushing the limits to establish new sale models with no gain for the player, like they did with pre-orders, why on earth is there so much hesitance to call that out more clearly? I.E. without excusing this methods with phrases like “its not necessary to buy anything”. When its not necessary, why implementing it?

          So, maybe you have to fight the urge to be harmonious just because there is a working, kinda enjoyable game (unlike pre-orders). Its not comfortable, but if RPS does not do it, who would?

    • Babymech says:

      “This happens again and again, article talking about how it’s actually a pretty good game even though some aspects of it are shit”

      Why would they not? Why are you asking that this games blog actively ignores or obscures part of the game because of your offended feelings? Why would you want less information from a site that is all about information on games?

      Any reasonable person would want to know if this package – including bizarre mini-buys – also contains an awful game, a middling game, or a fucking fantastic game, in terms of gameplay, graphics, plot, etc. Why would you want them to pretend that the rest of the game doesn’t exist because it crossed a line in the sand for you?

      • Thankmar says:

        Because its another test how much players will take to play a particular game. It might not interfere with gameplay now – I say cashing in on a second save slot does that, but okay – in two years it might. “Please pay 85 Coins to verify your XP gain” or sth. In an already paid game. And by discussing the game, regardless oft actual quality, you enable and encourage publishers to go farther and farther. So its not personal taste, but publishing politics. So to disencourage publishers from these sale models you have to ignore the game.

        • Babymech says:

          But… that doesn’t change anything about what RPS does, right? They’re supposed to tell me about all parts of the game, and then I can, as you say, ignore the game (SPOILER: I was ready to ignore the game when RPS informed me it was survival+crafting+zombies already).

          I don’t get why you would need less information to be able to ignore it. I’m perfectly fine not buying 95% of games that are reported on, but it helps to get actual information on what the game is about. You say “by discussing the game, regardless oft actual quality, you enable and encourage publishers to go farther and farther” – so once the game has crossed some line in the sand, even a brilliant, incredibly enjoyable game should go completely unmentioned?

          You’re contradicting yourself – either the save slot buy impacts game play and then it should be one of many game play features that blogs report on, or the save slot buy is symbolically evil and then the game should be ignored regardless of its gameplay. It’s the second perspective I don’t understand – why would you not want to be an informed customer?

          • Daymare says:

            They’re supposed to tell you about all parts of the game! Oh really? ALL parts?

            Time to get pissed they didn’t mention max FPS on a decent range of GPUs in Subnautica, then!

            Why would I not want to be an informed customer?

            Err, like RPS are the only available source of info about VGs? Because, as I said, the only bad publicity is no publicity?

          • Babymech says:

            “They’re supposed to tell you about all parts of the game! Oh really? ALL parts?”

            Don’t be ridiculous. If the blogger tells you that they enjoyed the game that they played, that is central. It is at least as important as telling you about the microtransactions, so yes, this is a part of the game they should be blogging about. Go back and read your ridiculous statement, and resolve not to be so ridiculous in the future.

          • Daymare says:

            Here’s the deal: RPS have already decided what they want to blog about. They seem to agree with you, and it’s apparent you’re happy with their decision.
            Good for you!

            I disagree with this notion, because, to my mind, RPS is in that way contributing to the continuing negative influence on games. I, personally, believe that we’ve come to a point where whether the game underneath is good or not is no longer as important as the way some games are used to bleed gamers dry. And I believe, for games journalism, a way to effectively stop this development is by no longer giving these games any form of attention.

            Apparently you disagree, because you think the game underneath is still more relevant. Okay, then!
            I do wonder if there could be a point where you, too, would think that the quality of the game itself is undermined by its monetization.

            Either way, you’ve started to call my posts “ridiculous” and at that point I no longer have any interest in this conversation with you, whether you think I’m chickening out of it because I lack arguments or whatever else it may be.

          • Babymech says:

            To be accurate, I didn’t call your posts ridiculous – I called that one ridiculous post ridiculous. And after I did that you stopped being ridiculous, so I regret nothing.

            You also ask: “I do wonder if there could be a point where you, too, would think that the quality of the game itself is undermined by its monetization.” Absolutely and of course. If I didn’t already disqualify MG: Survive for a bunch of other reasons, the mini-buys would be one more reason. I’m very sensitive to that kind of behavior. I’m not so sensitive that I can’t stand being told about it, however. I don’t believe coverage guarantees success – cf. Bladerunner 2049 or 2016’s Ghostbusters. Further, I don’t know if everybody draws the line exactly where I do, so it’s a good thing that RPS leave it up to the reader to decide – if it were up to me, no MMO or F2P game would ever get reported on, because I don’t even like subscription models.

            Bottom line: I want my gaming blogs to be honest with me. I want them to say – ‘sure I had a good time with this game, but honestly it’s a bit dull, the interface is a mess, the firing of Kojima is iffy, and the mini-buys are atrocious’. I don’t need them to lie, or to keep games secret, just because they’re worried I’ll be an irresponsible consumer.

          • Daymare says:

            Alrighty, then. Good to know we didn’t part on mutual hostility or lack of understanding!

        • Daymare says:

          Basically this. Thanks!

  15. ludde says:

    I’ll avoid this then and be wary of Konami in the future.

  16. Massenstein says:

    Thank you, RPS, for calling out this sort of shadiness. There’s probably little hope of it coming to end any time soon, but it seems no one likes it at least and it is always worth it to keep discussing it.

    I had already decided to wait for a massive sale with this game after MGS V disappointed me with wasted potential (that didn’t need to be wasted but was done for the sake of microtransactions) and this just settles that I don’t ever even try this pile even if there’s a free weekend.

  17. UKPartisan says:

    This really is the End of Days. Konami have turned Metal Gear into a jump on the bandwagon Pachinko machine…Fuck em!

  18. gibbousmoon says:

    I forgot that I had MGSV wishlisted (both of them) on my Steam account. I changed both of those to “Not Interested.” Thanks for letting us know what’s up!

    My beef specifically with any pay2win aspects (even if it is something as apparently benign as a one-time double-exp-point mtx) is that it

    1) Necessarily affects balance decisions, thereby negatively affecting all players (whether you choose to pay or not), and

    2) Marries real-life wealth to in-game acquisition. When you consider how incompatible these two economies are for anyone with a JOB, you can see how quickly this can destroy a game.

  19. Whitenut says:

    I don’t know what is more surprising. The twist ending at the end of MG Survive, the fact that its actually a decent game for its genre, or how terribly inaccurate and misleading this “article”/”review” is.

    First off, you’re complaining about emotes being purchasable but you fail to state that they can be found while playing in hidden collectable boxes strewn about the map. You also act as if this is as egregious as Black Desert Online’s pet system or WoW’s insta max level boost. Its purely cosmetic.

    As for the Save slot, if you actually had an abundance of time like you claim and actually played the game you’d know that you can have access to every thing on a single character without the need for a second. The only thing the additional avatar slot does is give additional shared resources for your base and the ability to send more exploration squads since they have different queues.

    As for the controls you press R to interact with static objects, space place defense structures. There is no wild jumping.

    Next time you want to write a review why don’t you actually play the game first instead of going to the forums and just copy/pasting everything that’s been said (and debunked) about the game by people who haven’t played it and actually put in some time and try it. (I’d say put in half the time it took you to write this but then that’d not even be enough time to get past the main menu

    • Whitenut says:

      But hey, why use facts when you can use opinions.

    • Whitenut says:

      Lets also not forget those boosters. Yeah, a whole 2% to shared resources for your base and 2% extra cash. Yeah that’s going to make a whole hell of a lot of difference especially when it takes just a coop match on normal to level up several times. Or two games on normal once you get your ultimate (which ill state again cause people are slow, you can change freely)

  20. doglikesparky says:

    I liked Metal Gear when it was a really long interactive movie interrupted by bits when you did shooting and hiding under a box. That was good. This, not so good.

  21. Kendracrook says:


  22. Tydeus says:

    TL;DR, you can actually get SV coins, so the microtransaction shit is just to “speed” things up. It’s kinda funny that the people who havent played it hate the game lol

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